Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schools to Get More Teaching Time Teachers Say Reform Is Needed to Help Students

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schools to Get More Teaching Time Teachers Say Reform Is Needed to Help Students

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- For months, physical education, art and music teachers have complained that education reform legislation reduced time for elective courses in middle schools.

But the governor and education officials now say they have reached an agreement that will likely appeal to both sides.

Officials unveiled the plan to lengthen instructional time to five hours at an Education Reform Commission meeting yesterday. The new plan will include tutoring and enrichment sessions in the five hours of class time for students who need extra help or a chance to enhance their skills.

Under the reform legislation, educators had to use time normally allotted for elective courses like art and band to tutor struggling students.

"We've been trying to refine the legislation a bit," said Ron Newcomb, the governor's education aide. "The original plan didn't account for individual student needs. It lumped the school as whole under one plan."

The original legislation exempted schools that performed well on standardized tests, and left those that didn't to rearrange the entire school's schedule to tutor students lagging behind in the basic skills.

The governor pushed for the changes in middle schools after learning that 49 percent of the state's eighth-graders couldn't perform basic science or math skills, according to national tests. …

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